Thursday, December 26, 2002

Humor causes Comair to cancel flight to CVG

The Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. - An airline passenger was cited for disorderly conduct Tuesday after the plane's crew accused him of insinuating the pilot had been drinking.

The remark caused Comair to cancel the 9:30 a.m. flight to Cincinnati, forcing 26 passengers to make other travel plans, said Lt. Michael Krembs of the Dane County Sheriff's Department.

The sheriff's department accused Steven M. Wiese, 33, a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician from Cottage Grove, of leaning into the cockpit and remarking to the pilot, "I hope you haven't been drinking," Lt. Krembs said.

Federal Aviation Administration regulations require the flight crew to be tested for controlled substances when drug or alcohol abuse allegations are made.

"My assumption is it was a flippant remark," Krembs said. "But in this day and age of heightened airport security, you just don't joke about stuff anymore."

The airline refused to allow Mr. Wiese and his wife on another flight Tuesday, Lt. Krembs said.

His citation carries a $225 fine. The sheriff's department has referred the case to the FBI for further investigation.

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